Poetry Month activities for your classroom

Poetry Month activities for your classroom

April 6, 2022Angelia Simpson

Not only does April bring showers, but also poetry month activities. Poetry is a genre that’s a jack of all trades. The friend who fits in at any lunch table. Its wonders never cease to amaze. Need to teach how fluency matters? Poetry’s here for you –  helping readers practice tone, pitch, and volume. Want to help with phonemic awareness? Poetry has rhyme, alliteration, syllable patterns, and assonance to aid young students just by listening. Wish to expand the writing of your students? Poetry pushes writers to elevate their style, asking for figurative language, expansive vocabulary, and imagery.

If nothing else, poetry should be taught to students because it reflects the world around us. Poetry has a cultural impact. From epic Greek poems to the Harlem Renaissance, poetry provides glimpses into feelings and ideas felt at the time by real people who lived it. Because of poetry’s importance, using words to sketch our lives and connect us all, what better resource for teachers to use than that of technology? Technology grants all learners access to poetry. Whether it’s through a variety of mediums such as videos, pictures, or audio recordings to text accessibility features that read poems to students who may not be able to read otherwise. Technology helps make poetry more understandable.

This list of poetry month activities is perfect for any elementary, middle, or high school classroom wanting to incorporate digital poetry activities using Nearpod, Flocabulary, or both in fun and immersive ways!

Poetry Month Activities: Nearpod

1. Magnetic Poetry and Poetry Frames

Magnetic Poetry Nearpod Poetry Month Activities Drag and Drop

Of all the poetry month activities, magnetic poems and poetry frames are adaptable for many grade levels. Nearpod’s Drag and Drop feature allows teachers to create digital magnetic poems. Use this tool to have students enter words or phrases to create their own poems. By having students drag text or images in a Drag and Drop, they can create more descriptive poems. Teachers can add higher level vocabulary words or simple decodable words depending on students’ abilities.

Poetry Frames Nearpod Poetry Month Activities Draw It

Poetry Frames are another excellent source of inspiration for young writers. These graphic organizers

can easily get students started writing their own poems. Teachers can create their own frames or upload premade ones into the Drag and Drop background. Help students model lymmerics or even sonnets.

2. Concrete Poetry (Visual Poetry)

Poetry is filled to the brim with imagery and pictures are great resources to spark ideas. Try these poetry month activities to incorporate visual imagery into poetry:

  • Using the Draw It tool in your Nearpod lesson, students can create their own concrete poems, which are poems that take the shape of their topic. 
  • Teachers can upload PDFs of poem examples to accompany directions. Use poems by Jack Prelutsky or Shel Silverstein for a fun twist.
  • Create a lesson where students can choose their own visual to inspire a poem. They can then write their poem using the Draw It or Open-Ended Question tool. This grants more creative freedom for students to take their poetry to new and interesting places.

Students then write concrete poems directly into the lesson. Not only can teachers upload pictures into the Draw It activity, but students can also upload their own images.

Visual Concrete Poems Nearpod Poetry Month Activities Draw It

3. Shared Poetry using the Collaborate Board

Good ideas often come with a little help. Shared poetry gives writers an extra boost. Using the Collaborate Board activity, the class develops shared class poetry. Creating a shared poetry lesson in Nearpod is quick, simple, and impactful with these steps: 

  • In Nearpod, you can click on “Create Lesson” and then choose “Collaborate board” activity.
  • Then, type into the directions box your lesson topic. The beauty of this activity is that teachers have total control over the prompt – being as specific or broad as is necessary while still fostering creativity. Add a simple visual image as a reference image to allow for multiple interpretations or give detailed directions/ instructional aids for students to mimic certain poetic styles or devices. 
  • Assign your shared poetry lesson to students by sharing the lesson code with students. So much flexibility is given that teachers can allow students to add to the shared poem individually or work in groups. 
  • The whole class sees what’s being contributed to the poem in real time. It’s a great opportunity to discuss ideas and share thinking, even sharing comments.

Collaborate Board’s design layout allows students to add audio recordings and videos! Results are unexpected but wholly unique and diverse. The real trick is to pick broad topics while also being relatable. Themes like love, friendship, or nature give room for interpretation but not too broad to disconnect students.

Shared Poetry using the Collaborate Board Nearpod Poetry Month Activities

Poetry Month Activities: Flocabulary

4. Poetry Concepts

One of the most helpful resources for teaching students poetry concepts is Flocabulary. We often perceive poetry as lofty and complicated. However, Flocabulary’s video and lesson library makes teaching poetry relatable to students. Flocabulary’s videos are engaging and even mimic slam poetry. Not only that, Flocabulary has videos to help new poets understand the craft and structure of poetry. There’s videos for figurative language, alliteration and assonance, personification, similes and metaphors, hyperbole, and descriptive language.

What is Poetry Hip-Hop Lesson Video Flocabulary Poetry Month Activities

Flocabulary offers poetry activities perfect for middle school and teaching high school poetry. There are lesson plans, handouts, vocabulary games and cards, quizzes, and a rhyme generator. Everything you need to teach engaging poetry lessons is ready and waiting!

5. Vocabulary’s role in poetry

Writing poetry is all about purposeful word choice and surfaces rich discussions on vocabulary by readers everywhere. Through learning about figurative language, all students can practice using academic vocabulary in less traditional concepts to showcase complex meanings.

With Flocabulary’s focus on vocabulary in every lesson, teachers can use hip-hop videos and their supporting activities to learn about vocabulary and develop a deep understanding of academic terminology.

Start discussions about poetry by learning the vocabulary used in the structure of poems with the figurative language lesson. Students watch the video to introduce the vocabulary and follow it with supporting activities that deepen their understanding of the terms along the way.

6. Write poetry using Lyric Lab

The Lyric Lab activity gives students the opportunity to create their own rhymes using the academic vocabulary covered in the accompanied Flocabulary lesson. You can assign a Lyric Lab for students to complete or they can independently create their own rhymes simply by logging into their student account and selecting Lyric Lab for any lesson.

Students can use these poetry month activities to write poems about any topic across the K-12 curriculum. Although Lyric Lab can be used to write a rap about a topic, students can also take those same lessons and tools to create poetry.

With Lyric Lab, students are developing the deepest level of understanding of vocabulary terms in a lesson. Students use the vocabulary terms that surfaced in a lesson to write about that topic. This is a great mnemonic device to help students reflect and showcase their own personal understanding that they can use throughout the whole lesson unit. 

Here’s how you can use Lyric Lab’s built-in rhyme-generator to  help students find rhymes as they write:

  • 1. Flocabulary’s video and Lyric Lab activity are perfect for an introductory lesson. Choose a lesson from the library. Let’s use the Hyperbole lesson as an example. 
  • 2. Students watch the lesson video, which includes engaging visuals and catchy rhymes about this poetic concept, individually or as a class.
  • 3. Students can then click on the Lyric Lab section of the Hyperbole lesson.
Hyperbole Hip-Hop video lesson Lyric Lab Flocabulary Poetry Writing Poetry Month Activities
  • 4. Lyric Lab will have a list of relevant vocabulary used in the video for students to use to create their own rhymes. 
  • 5. As they type their rhymes, Lyric Lab will generate words they can use to rhyme in their next line.
  • 6. Once their lyrics are complete, students can select one of Flocabulary’s beats to go along with their song.
  • 7. Have students submit a video or voice recording of their final song, or have the class perform their masterpieces to each other!

After students create their own lyrics explaining what a hyperbole is, it can be used as a guide for students to write their own poems with hyperbole or even read poems where they have to find examples of hyperbole. Some great famous poem examples to include in your poetry month activities are “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth, or “My Heart Beats for You” by Kelly Roper.

Lyric Lab can be tied to any poetry lesson. It’s a helpful introduction to help students fully grasp poetry concepts, styles, and vocabulary. Students make it their own instead of teachers lecturing definitions they may not understand. This ensures they understand and showcase what they’ve learned.

While students can write poetry about any topic in Flocabulary, they can also watch the What is Poetry, Types of Poetry, and Rhyme & Rhythm lessons to support their knowledge of poetry in general. Teachers can share these lessons about poetry with students and ask them to write a poem about any topic in any core subject area. Historical figures are a teacher favorite for poetry writing with Lyric Lab.

7. Meet common core standards by performing poetry

Speaking and listening standards appear across many grade levels, with students being asked to perform speeches orally and understand and practice active listening skills. While writing poetry can help support vocabulary acquisition and deep understanding, performing poetry will help teachers meet some speaking and listening standards as well.

Poetry’s short nature also helps students who are easily overwhelmed with lengthy writing assignments or those nervous about public speaking. When students share poetry aloud they can experience figurative language and all its parts in new and interesting ways.

Poetry Month Activities: Nearpod + Flocabulary

8. Poetry Slam

Hyperbole Hip-Hop video lesson Lyric Lab Flocabulary Poetry Writing Poetry Month Activities

Why not let students share their poetry by hosting class slam poetry sessions? Poetry is meant to be read aloud. It evokes feelings, which can be felt when spoken. Poetry slams are beneficial not only with writing, but also reading fluency.

Mixing Flocabulary and Nearpod with slam poetry are great  digital poetry activities. Flocabulary’s videos not only teach concepts, but also what slam poetry sounds like. Poetry is meant to be read aloud. Pick a Flocabulary video for students to emulate a poetry slam and add it to the Nearpod lesson. Then, include activities for students to create poetry to participate in a poetry slam. Flipgrid is a great resource for students to record themselves reading their poetry and submitting to the slam. Students can also use Collaborate Board on Nearpod instead to slam their poetry by submitting videos. Students listen to slam poetry through Flocabulary and then emulate it with Nearpod.

9. Pick a Poet

Maya Angelou & Resilience Flocabulary hip hop lesson video poetry month activities pick a poet famous poets

Pick a Poet is an activity among our list of poetry month activities which gives students freedom to choose a poet to learn about and emulate his or her poetic style. Flocabulary has a library full of videos about poets – Maya Angelou, William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, and Emily Dickinson to name a few.  Assign students a famous poet or style of poetry to mimic, or even better, let students choose what interests them.

Create lessons in Nearpod along with activities and videos from Flocabulary. Students learn about the poet’s life, style, and impact on poetry. Or, learn about that particular poetic style. They then create their own poems and even present information about that poet to the class.

10. Music as Poetry

Music and poetry share a timeless relationship. In the past, poems were often sung, so why not teach poetry using music? For teaching poetry in high school, you can create lessons in Nearpod and Flocabulary demonstrating the close relationship between poetry and music, adding digital poetry activities for students to  complete along the way like matching pairs to review terms and concepts. Students pick lyrics from their favorite song or artist and analyze it through the lens of poetry. If students already studied different poetic styles, they can try to analyze what style of poetry that song would work in and why – evaluating rhythm, poetic devices, themes, etc..

On the flip side, students can also pick poems to turn into songs, explaining the poetic rhythm. With student accounts in Nearpod, students can practice making their very own presentations to present to the class in new, creative ways!

Spring brings with it growth, and these poetry month activities can be expanded and modified to fit in with any teacher’s lessons. April is the perfect month to teach the importance of poetry with enjoyable lessons that allow students creative freedom. After all, that’s what poetry is all about feeling and expression.

Interested in reading more about this topic? Check out this blog post: 5 Ways to empower students as content creators

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